A Genoise, Lady Fingers, and a Bloomingdale’s Christmas Window Gingerbread House – Day 31

TODAY’S TIDBITS

  • Make a notch up your cake, so when you divide it in three, you can line up the notches after you’ve iced it.
  • After filling your cake pan with batter, spin it on the counter, and the batter will fill out the pan.
  • After you’ve buttered your cake pan, use some of the butter in the pan to butter your parchment paper before lining the pan.

Today was a very sugary day. We started the day making a Genoise, a very light cake made with egg foam as the leavening agent (‘mechanical leavening’). This cake had three main ingredients; eggs, sugar, flour — so this is the goto cake if you haven’t got many ingredients around.

Make a notch in your cake, so.......
Make a notch in your cake, so…….
.... when you divide it and ice it, you can line the layers back up
…. when you divide it and ice it, you can line the layers back up

The icing was a buttercream, which is butter whipped into a meringue (egg + sugar). I took a page from Joe’s playbook, and roasted some almonds, and put them on the outside of my cake, and of course brushed some kirsch into the cake layers. The cake is so light it absorbs flavors very easily. How the cake made it home undamaged in my knapsack, I have no idea. We also made ladyfingers, which again uses egg foam leavening. Apparently the ladyfingers are to be used for a tiramisu tomorrow.

Nina pipes her ladyfingers
Nina pipes her ladyfingers
Stewart and Alton building the gingerbread house roof
Stewart and Alton building the gingerbread house roof

It was a long day because Alton, Pablo and I volunteered to help the pastry team make the display for the Bloomingdale’s Christmas Windows. It had to be completed tonight, so we were there till about 10.30pm helping the pastry chefs get their masterpiece made. I was first assigned making the brick pattern, but I was making the ‘grouting’ so thick that Chef Toni told me “uh….how ‘bout I give you another job?”. Eventually I got some tasks I could do, and we all had a lot of fun painting, glueing, icing, glittering, kneading, fondanting, etc… I have to admit I didn’t think we had a chance of getting it done by tonight, but sure enough Chefs Jansen, Toni, Mark and Jurgen managed to jump all hurdles (including us having put the gingerbread walls on upside down), and now the Christmas tree even spins!!!!!! Bloomingdale’s is going to be very happy.

Now, time to write out tomorrow’s recipe cards, which includes crepes and banana fritters.

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2 comments

  1. Paul

    I’m missing something about the cake ‘notching’. Why is it necessary to divide the cake into three parts? When it’s put together again and Iced, you cant’ see the notches sooo . . . hmmmm?

  2. Stewart Borden

    The cake is baked as one unit. Then, if you want to make it a three layer cake you slice the one unit into three layers. The problem is that no-one can make these slices perfect, so you generally end up with three slightly wonky layers. Now if you don’t put these layers back exactly like they were, you’re going to end up with a wonky cake…. but it will be perfect if you put them all back exactly how they were, and then ice over it all. The notch helps you align the layers back to their original position.

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